Over the summer the French and Italian programs at Franklin Avenue Middle School were given the task of updating their curriculum in order to meet the new New Jersey State Standards. Both programs were working with resources purchased in 2006 and much of the material had become irrelevant in this fast changing global world we live in today. Finding more relevant materials, updating the curriculum and ensuring that all students were equally challenged was no easy task, and we began this process in January 2015.
We attended several meetings throughout the district with the middle schools from Oakland and Wyckoff, as well as with both high-schools. Additionally, we attended several presentations from vendors of foreign language textbooks. During each of these presentations, we needed to evaluate the benefits and the negatives of each textbook and its supporting resources. We were looking for an online textbook that could be used by students daily, both in the classroom and at home. We wanted to ensure that even when students were at home, they still had access to the foreign language as if their teacher was there with them.
Once we determined which textbook would benefit the most, we began to write our curriculum, incorporating the new standards, the new textbook and countless other teaching materials we use daily in our classroom. This entire process was done over the summer months, and on September 21 our hard work was presented for approval to the Board of Education.
Although the materials were all approved, the curriculum is still a “living document” and we continue to improve on it as we teach our lessons every day. We are incorporating the new online resources, which in turn revamps all of our lessons and challenges us to continue to create new and engaging lessons. Students are getting used to using the new resources as well, and they do require a lot of support and assistance from us. Everybody is on the learning curve currently, but we feel confident that through all of our efforts and hard work, this will be a phenomenal program that will instill in our students the love for French or Italian.